Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nearing the End

I only have 16 days left in Europe! It is so hard to believe that this semester is almost over! In some ways it feels like this semester has completely flown by, but in other ways it has been a long three and half months. However, I have to admit that I am ready to go home. Since I have not written in a while, here is a quick catch-up of my life in the last few weeks:
The weekend after I got back from Ireland, I went on a class trip to Amsterdam. Our first stop was a tour of the port of Antwerp, which I found to be really interesting. While in Amsterdam we visited a LOT of museums! I think the total count of museums was 5 in the two and half days, plus a lot more guided tours of other places in the city including a fun boat tour on the canals. Amsterdam is a beautiful city, but all the tours and information and lack of sleep from Ireland made me really tired and kind of crabby. I also did not appreciate how the entire city smelled like marijuana and there were prostitutes on every corner!
The week after Amsterdam was very busy as the BCA president visited and took us out to eat on Tuesday night, then Thursday night was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving day was very odd as I went to my internship as usual and to everyone else it was just another day. I was very jealous of my friends back home who got three days off of school. After work, I took a train to Antwerp, where Kathleen and her husband prepared us a Thanksgiving feast. Although it was good, it just made me homesick because it was not the same.
Last weekend, Krissy and I visited Brussel's Christmas market on both Friday and Saturday nights! The Christmas market is amazing with the downtown completely decorated for Christmas and little stands selling all sorts of crafts and good food! There is also a ferris wheel (on which we are planning to go tomorrow) and an ice-skating rink! Sunday morning we also went to the Midi-market which is a HUGE market by Midi train station which sells all sorts of cheap clothing and food. The rest of the day was devoted to homework.
Schoolwork is taking up much of my life right now.... In the next two weeks, I still have one presentation, four papers, and three exams! Yikes! However, I am feeling alright at the moment. Classes have not been as good as I had hoped when I arrived here. I really don't like international law at all-- it is an extremely boring, long class, which also has really hard tests and papers. The art class has been fun for traveling, but the exam will cover a lot of material. In Amsterdam I did a presentation on the philosopher Spinoza, which was fun to research. The best class has been the peace and security studies class. Right now I am writing a peer paper about the causes of war and the best ways to make peace. It is more a series of conversations back and forth between one of my peers of what each of us thinks on the subject. I am really enjoying writing it and was excited when I got to include information I learned from my Love and Evolution class last semester.
This weekend holds hanging out with friends, going to Brugge to go ice-skating with a coworker, and seeing the Moscow City Ballet perform Swan Lake! Plus all the homework and studying. So it should be good, even if it is extremely busy. But as mentioned earlier, I am ready to come home. The best way to describe it, is Daughtry's song Home. The lyrics go "I'm going home, back to the place where I belong. And where your love has always been enough for me. I'm not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong. I don't regret this life I chose for me. But these places and these faces are getting old. So I'm going home, well I'm going home... Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it all. You just might get it all and then some you don't want... So I'm going home."
I have loved my time in Europe, truly loved it. But this isn't home. Through my time here I have realized how much I do belong at EMU and in the Mennonite church and although it has been great, it is time for me to go back. My time here has been everything I ever imagined, although I didn't expect to encounter as many challenges as I did. I lived my dream of being in Europe; studying, traveling, meeting new people, making new friends, but all of it does get old and the time comes when you just need to go home.

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